Monday 24 April 2017

Up to 15 new Bills could be needed due to Brexit - UK government warned

Theresa May is meeting Google. Photo: PA
Theresa May is meeting Google. Photo: PA

Shaun Connolly

As many as 15 new Parliamentary Bills may be needed due to Brexit, the Institute for Government (IFG) has warned.

The IFG said such an emphasis on legislation related to legal EU withdrawal means the Government's domestic agenda will take a hit.

IFG's research director, Dr Hannah White, told BBC Radio Four's Today programme: "The estimates we have heard are something between 10 and 15 Bills required in the next two parliamentary sessions. Normally, there are about 20 in a Queen's Speech.

"So, that's roughly the capacity that there is in government to draft these Bills and, in terms of parliamentary time, to pass them.

"So, that takes a big chunk out of the Government's capacity to legislate. And its other priorities, its domestic priorities, will take a hit in the next couple of sessions.

"There will have to be some really tight prioritisation in Government to work out what else is going to be done aside from the Brexit legislation."

British PM Theresa May with Taoiseach Enda Kenny. Photo: Gerry Mooney
British PM Theresa May with Taoiseach Enda Kenny. Photo: Gerry Mooney

Dr White said the Bills, dealing with issues such as immigration procedures, would be on top of the Great Repeal Bill, which will incorporate EU law into British law.

Prime Minister Theresa May has stated she intends to trigger the Article 50 process, which begins two years of withdrawal negotiations by the end of this month.

Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May. REUTERS/Dylan Martinez
Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May. REUTERS/Dylan Martinez

A Government spokesman said: "This Government will harness the skills and resources across all departments to ensure that the statute book functions effectively on the day we leave - as part of delivering a smooth and orderly Brexit.

"The Great Repeal Bill will end the authority of EU law and return power to the UK. And we've been clear that where there could be significant change, for example in areas such as customs or immigration, there will be primary legislation.

"We are confident we can deliver the necessary reforms within the legislative timetable, and have also been clear that we envisage a phased process of implementation.

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